The year 2016 has been an eye opening experience for the world thanks to American politics. The overwhelming support that has been provided by American citizens towards Donald Trump, a man who confused 9/11 one of the biggest catastrophes in American history for 7/11, a franchise that has done more for diabetes than your local donut store, can be frankly astounding. This has left the rest of the world with an even larger negative view of America in general. However, what doesn’t come as a surprise is that the reasons for the support might actually be the disenchantment that is felt by the citizens of the United States towards the government establishment. As such, a hillbilly might seem to them as a viable choice for the leader of one of the greatest economic powers on earth.
It’s important to note that citizens of the United States have started realizing the fact that they have been taken advantage of by a system that could only be considered an oligarchy. Trust in the government is at an all-time low in the United States and only continues to decrease as time moves forward. A reason for this could be that major corporations have been lobbying in the government to take away the rights of citizens for close to a century only so they can deepen their own pockets. The citizens believe that by electing one of their own (a lobbyist) they will be disrupting the system from within and thus be creating what is tantamount to a black hole. If successful, the black hole created from this event will be so large that it will collapse unto itself and maybe take with it a couple of extra corporations along the way.
Sadly, this idea can be superfluous at best, when we take a closer look at everything that Donald Trump stands towards. This is a man who will say anything and everything to become elected, and half of the answers he provides could be considered nonsense to all, but his most loyal of followers; however Donald Trump still managed to secure the republican candidacy nonetheless. Thus we must respect Donald Trump’s tenacity and survivability in this cutthroat world of politics at the least. One thing is certain, he is funding his campaign with his own money and as such we can’t say that he is in the pockets of big corporations because he is a corporation.
On the other side of the coin these same traits that are admired in Trump are the cause of scorn towards democratic nominee Senator Bernie Sanders, a man who has had close to 40 years of experience in Politics. Sanders surprisingly has no relation to the Colonel Sanders who parlayed in the business of chicken peddling and in fact denied it several times during various interviews is the representative for the state of Virginia. He has been fighting for the same rights and civil liberties that people of the United States deserve (but, have not fully obtained) for over three decades. Senator Sanders however is still trailing behind the other democratic nominee known only as the wicked witch of the west who instead represents the establishment. The odds seem stacked against him as more strange events regarding the primaries and caucuses continue to happen.
Missing votes, closed voting establishments, known democratic voters mysteriously having their parties switch side, and failures to re-count when the masses are asking for them are all very large red flags in a system that has started to tear at the seams. It seems that the United States government has finally started showing its true colors. ‘For the people by the people’ has been a myth propagated by the generations for centuries, but how true can that be when the country is ruled by those who have deep pockets and even deeper connections? In a world like this of course the hillbilly candidate can appear to be the logical choice because an honest politician is a paradox that can’t simply exists. The government is the enemy and Sanders is viewed as the enemy of the establishment. Thus the establishment seeks to eliminate Sanders’ bid for presidency. Thus, it reinforces the American Citizens’ belief that their only hope lies in the other candidate who can’t be bought by money because his pockets are already filled, but they fail to realize that because Trump is one of them, he will still favor corporations. There is no win for the United States only revolution is left. In a country that has slowly been taking away the rights of its citizens, only blood will reignite the flames of freedom. But, how long until the American people fight back? Who can tell?
The pictures attached belong to their respective owners. This article is a work of satire and humor mixed with some serious observations. It is meant to be taken with a grain of salt.
The common wealth of Puerto Rico has acquired a debt of 73 billion dollars in the last few years. Due to this factor, the United States or more specifically South Carolina has elected to create a financial control board which would in essence take hold of Puerto Rico’s economy in order to pay off the debt. This is in essence a terrible idea, but one that does not come without a certain benefit. The government in Puerto Rico has shown that it is simply incapable of ruling the country fairly; perhaps it is time to give someone else a chance at running the place. But, It’s not the first time that a government has abused its power in order to further the agenda of those who are rich and powerful. This could be a nightmare waiting to happen, or perhaps the salvation it needs.
For the sake of giving 2 sides of the argument I am splitting this post into two separate parts. Each part will explain a different piece of the argument of why it could be bad or good. I will take a look at past revolutions of multiple countries in order to analyze the similarities and distinctions between the events that are happening now, circumstances, and motives of the people who revolutionized the world. But, I hope that everyone understands if we do not learn from history we are doomed to repeat it.
The United States has given Puerto Rico the status of a commonwealth country for nearly a century now. In other words Puerto Rico is a colony of the United States, but don’t let anyone call it that since it has negative connotations (and it would hurt their feelings). They have the same citizenship as regular citizens, but have controlled aspects such as trade embargoes in the case of cabotage laws which effectively cripple the economy by preventing ships from foreign countries from trading directly with us (only U.S. manned and owned vessels are allowed to transport goods). To indirectly preventing us from purchasing cheap oil from Venezuela due to its status as a commonwealth. These things make it even more difficult, when you consider that Puerto Rico relies on imports for manufacture of products despite the fact that it has plenty of rich soil that could be use for food export. Sadly, this is just one of the reasons why the country has acquired the exorbitant debt it has. As mentioned earlier the government in Puerto Rico has shown to be inefficient at leading, and managing this land as well. Puerto Rico’s politics have often been marred by the highly unstable public policies which are fluctuating constantly when the countries leading party changes.
The island has various political parties of which two hold the majority of the shares with at least 47% of votes going to both Partido Nuevo Progresista (PNP) or the Partido Popular Democratico (PPD). There are at least 5 more political parties, but the breakdown is substantially smaller to the point of being nearly insignificant (as explained in a pie chart). In my experience though election results tend to favor the opposite party simply because people have become angry at the current one. But, here is a list of the results for each election ending with the year 1976.
2012: PPD won with 47.7%
2008: PNP won with 52.8%
2004: PPD won with 48.4%
2000: PPD won with 48.6%
1996: PNP won with 51.1%
1992: PNP won with 49.9%
1988: PDP won with 48.7%
1984: PDP won with 48.7%
1980: PNP won with 47.2% 1
976: PNP won with 48.3%
There is also a deep cultural belief that political affiliations within Puerto Ricans lie in the family with each member voting for the party that their family typically supports. (I can’t confirm, how true or false this is. But, I can say I witnessed it growing up). So rarely will the political affiliations shift severely, and it is uncommon to witness an overwhelming majority win. This leaves no room for true change, it doesn’t raise the stakes for politicians to truly enact good policies because they know that regardless of what happens their party will eventually return to power (almost like a microcosm of what happens in the continental U.S.). Indeed if anything will destroy Puerto Rico it will be its own government. Why do I say this? Because Puerto Rico has had good ideas effectively shut down by the people in power. For example in 2009 a legislator proposed that we reduced the amount of municipalities (78) into larger, but less numerous ones (20 link is in spanish) this bill never made it into law despite the fact that it would have reduced the amount of government spending in salaries for the mayors.
If we keep all of these factors in mind, then perhaps it is a good idea for the U.S. government to gain control of the finances in Puerto Rico. Perhaps then we will finally see some change being enacted, and a positive move towards action from Puerto . But, it could be dangerous as well for the government to take over with such hostile tactics. You see Puerto Ricans are a fighting breed. Their fighting spirits have been lying dormant waiting for an opportunity to rise against once more. But, the end result could go one of two ways. Revolutions of the past such as China’s or Cuba’s have shown that societies tend to overthrow relatively open governments in exchange for more oppressive ones. If Puerto Rico is to avoid these mistakes then it needs to heed my words and learn from history. For history can be a harsh mistress, and she will repeat a lesson until is it cemented in humanity itself.
Let’s take a look at the Chinese revolution. Indeed, the Chinese Revolution of 1949 headed by Mao Zedong which led to the creation of the People’s Republic of China, and the Chinese Communist Party. The revolution itself was a massive success, but the politics that came from it while very forward thinking, and egalitarian did not have the overwhelming success that the revolution expected. The revolution itself wanted to destroy everything that China had been before Communism, and in this it did succeed. However, the rapid implementation of changes to social structures and industrialization did unfortunately bring many negative consequences. Women did gain equal rights, at the cost of family values. Famine is estimated to have killed anywhere from 20-46 million people (keep in mind this was a location that had natural resources for manufacture) due to heavy exportation of food items such as grain. Doctors were trained, but morale was overwhelmingly low due to the practices implemented by the government. Religion was banned and looked as antiquated, churches were destroyed and clergymen killed (the only churches allowed to exist preached communism). The CCP implemented strict propagandist policies, but while literacy rates were radically higher, social re-education was mandatory at least weekly (more if you were disgruntled). There was no trust amongst neighbors because they were encouraged to denounce each other in order to sort out dissenters. Culture died, artist were prevented from free expression, many committed suicide, others conformed to writing/creating communist propaganda. But, despite all of these negative aspects, there were some truly major technological/medicinal advances as well as sectors which continued to perform successfully in terms of economy. In the end it’s hard to determine if this revolution was truly a failure or a success
When Cuba gained independence On December 10, 1898. Cuba saw many social and political changes in structure, however it was still suffering the aftereffect of the war. Many of the industrial and economical sectors of the country were ruled over by the United States. The provisional military government (provided by the U.S.) used its funding for infrastructure development instead of aiding farmers restore their fields in order to provide agricultural stability. This did not appear to be incidental because many American businessmen came in to buy cheap farmlands and properties. It has been speculated that if the government had focused on helping farmers, Cuban economy could have stabilized at a steady rate. These movements in which the American industry was slowly taking over the Islands’ complete economy. A senator from Ohio tried to create the Foraker amendment in order to make these franchises illegal, but did this not prevent the industrialist from taking over business and other resources from the land. For all intents and purposes, the industries which should have belonged to the Cubans after the Spanish allowed independence, now belonged to the Americans.
Cuba still wanted independence though. Americans were clamoring for the annexation of the country, but the Teller Act forbade such actions. While annexationists did exist in the island, the overwhelming majority did not want to go on being a colony. The New York Sun, on April 13 1900, summed it up quite eloquently “The attitude of the people of Cuba toward annexation seems to be this in brief; the wealth and intelligence of the island are generally in favor of it, and the agitators and their tools, the ignorant Negroes, are opposed to it” (It’s nice to see how racist newspapers were back then). This meant that the U.S. had to work around the issue and instead made the Platt Amendment which made the country a pseudo-colony. If the Cubans did not agree to these terms then the U.S. would not leave the Island. This was a dark time in their Cuba’s history if we consider that the Cuban flag would not fly over the island until 1902, when their first president was elected (Tomás Estrada). In 1903 a Permanent Treaty gave the U.S. the rights to uphold peace in the country as well as use of Guantanamo Bay (a very hot-button issue to Cubans).
The Cuban Revolution happened from 1953-1959. This was another great revolution towards the Communist movement. It was also the war that gave Fidel Castro power over Cuba. To this day Cuba remains under the control of the Castro family with his brother Raul taking over after his siblings retirement. This was also brought a battle that brought along many changes to the country. Equality was a top priority with social reforms seeking to grant greater rights to minorities (i.e. blacks, women, etc.). Housing, medical facilities, education, and communication saw improvements during this period as well. The government had also reduced crime and unemployment rates by a significant amount. By the end of the decade every child had received some form of education (an incredible achievement when compared to previous statistics). Cuba also had to institute land reformation policies due to the majority of fertile lands being owned by foreign entities with the results actually improving living standards. But, all was not well within Cuba after the revolution. After Castro gained more political favor, he instituted informant committees in every neighborhood to maintain control against revolutionary activities (a hypocritical move if we consider how he came about power) this would keep track of any activity (and I mean any) that could be deemed remotely suspicious. Political assassinations were the norm for a while in the country. Religious freedom was nulled country declared itself officially as atheistic (despite this homosexuals’ were still persecuted). Lands were taken over by the government without any opposition (as they would like us to believe). Despite these last few details, Cuba enjoys a somewhat stable economy, has one of the highest rated literacy rates with 99.8%, some of the best health care in the world (with one doctor per 170 citizen; second only to Italy), and it is free.
The price to pay can often be higher than most expect. At times the cost of independence ironically becomes freedom itself. I have shown some of the good and bad that a revolution can bring when they trade off relatively open governments in favor of military communist ones. If the U.S. does create a financial control board in Puerto Rico it might finally become the push it needs to awaken the fighting spirit of Puerto Ricans. Puerto Rico needs to choose between freedom or being baby-sat by a country whose only interest lies in furthering its own agenda. Unlike the States which can have their debt forgiven by the government; Puerto Rico has no such benefit because of its status as a commonwealth. I doubt they will take this sitting down, though apathy rules the land at this moment it will not remain so much longer. You see when a dog is backed into a corner after fleeing for so long it takes the only logical step and fights back. They must not be silenced, they can not be calmed. Puerto Ricans everywhere must finally band together and fight for they will not be treated as children. They must rise against those who have crippled their potential and strike back with full force. Even when their first fight happened and the U.S. government quelled the movement with lies and propaganda, a spark of fire remained. This small glimmer of hope is waiting for the moment to ignite a forest and set those hearts and souls ablaze with the flames of justice.
This article will be continued with a more positive outlook on revolutions that have overthrown oppressive governments in favor of more liberal ones. The content in this article was written and belongs to the author and respective original writers. If you enjoyed this article please share and like it. We have a fan page on Facebook that is starting to grow and will keep the updates posted.
A new controversy has been plaguing Facebook and Twitter for the last few days. It seems that the government wants to take down the Confederate flag from being flown and sold in certain locations in the Southern States of America. This flag bears a lot of significance to many of the citizens in those areas, and as such the loss of privilege means a great deal to them. However, we must acknowledge that just because it’s historical does not mean, that it is not a symbol of something much darker. I spent a fair amount of hours researching the history of this flag before making a decision on which side I stood on. But, what I discovered was certainly eye-opening to the beliefs that were held in the past.
First of all I’d like to mention that this flag has had many itinerations. The symbol that we know today as the Confederate Flag has changed at least 3 times before it became the one it is today. These flags were all made with the same intention; to symbolize the meaning of what the Confederacy stood for. When viewed from this perspective it allows us to understand that a flag is simply a symbol from a country itself (our flag flies one star per state and will add more as they continue if the trend goes on). What the general populace tends to forget is that simply because you change the design of a flag, and add a new meaning, it does not change it’s history or what it once stood for. While it’s certain that the Confederacy did stand for independence, it’s values were not the most positive ones when viewed from our modern perspective.
The first Confederate flag called the Stars and Bars was very similar to the United States Flag, and was actually criticized because the Union stood for the abolition of slavery. Due to the massive negative reaction that was had the government was actually incited to look for a new design. The people did not approve of this flag simply because it was similar to something that opposed their beliefs despite the fact that the reason for the similarities was because these two groups originated from the same location/people. What was even worse was that due to the similarities they had this caused major confusions in the battlefield and thus it was deemed necessary to change it. They rejected the design because it was similar to the Stars and Stripes which was a symbol of something that the Confederacy opposed. You will notice that symbolism is a recurring theme in this article.
The second flag was known as The Stainless Banner. This design was probably the most controversial due to it’s nickname “The White Man’s Flag”. While this flag caused a separate array of confusion for the poor Union because when the wind was not blowing it would look like a flag of surrender. I’m fairly certain this must have caused much heartbreak amongst Union soldiers looking for an easy battle. This flag was originally designed to symbolize the Confederacy’s ideals that the white race was superior to all others by it’s creator. It was also very different to the Stars and Stripes which was another perk to the people of the south who hated the Stars and Bars. In 1863 William T. Thompson had the following to say “As a people we are fighting maintain the Heaven-ordained supremacy of the white man over the inferior or colored race; a white flag would thus be emblematical (sic) of our cause”. A flag like this would never fly in this age, and is another page in the muddled history of this flag. However, I must clarify that the significance of the white part of the flag was never formally incorporated by the Confederate Act in 1864 so people took various liberties with it’s meaning. But, due to the reasons mentioned above regarding confusion in the battlefield, another flag was created.
This led to the creation of The Blood Stained Banner. This flag was designed in order to avoid confusion by the troops when the wind was not blowing. This flag was more like a revision than a major change and did not add anything major to what this flag represented. I theorize that the flag’s red stripe at the edge was significant of the blood shed by the soldiers whose lives were lost in the war. If looked at it from this point of view this flag might have held some very emotional significance to some. Yet, this would be the last design before the surrender of the south, and after this event the flag would proceed to hibernate until it saw its popularity resurface by military units composed of southerners in World War II. But, this was not a very popular act to a certain descendant of one of the generals of the Civil War, since it was a war fought by people from all over the United States.
As the 1900’s passed certain groups like the Ku-Klux-Klan or the Skinheads started using this flag as a symbol with historian Gordon Rhea stating that “They did not appropriate the Confederate battle flag simply because it was pretty. They picked it because it was the flag of a nation dedicated to their ideals: ‘that the negro is not equal to the white man’. The Confederate flag, we are told, represents heritage, not hate. But why should we celebrate a heritage grounded in hate, a heritage whose self-avowed reason for existence was the exploitation and debasement of a sizeable segment of its population?”. This is what it all boils down to when congress is working to eliminate the sale, and flying of this flag because it symbolizes something that is marred by a history of hate. People who complain about political correctness have probably never been in the receiving end of racism or unwarranted hate. It’s not a good feeling. I understand that sometimes political correctness can go overboard, but in this case it’s the same concept as the name “Redskins” for the Washington football team. There will always be people who defend negative symbols because changing them would be like destroying tradition (I will elaborate on later on).
I’m not opposed to the observation of this flag in a museum or a history book. I am opposed to what this flag once symbolized, and the history that it carries. As a Puerto Rican I am aware of the plight of the underdogs, but in this case we must understand the comparison between the Swastika and the Confederate flag. Both of these flags symbolize something very negative to two respective groups of minorities, which is their oppression. When people look blindly at tradition as a motive for keeping the status quo it inhibits societies progress. But, this is simply not a good reason for flying this banner. I will admit the Confederate flag deserves respect, in as much as any historical artifact. It also deserves a place in the history books with a thorough explanation of what it once stood for in order to avoid the confusion that is happening at this time with future generations. We must never erase our history because without it we simply cease to grow as a society. But, sadly it sometimes appears that society is terrified of change.
There is a theory that this is due in part to a certain fear that is instinctive in humans to dislike change. When we can’t follow customs it feels like we deserved to be punished. To challenge the customs that our forefathers set for us is a betrayal that we must never commit. But, this is wrong. Most individuals simply don’t see this as fear, and instead see it as an infringement of their “Freedom of Speech”. However, if this bill passes it’s simply not going to make it a crime to fly the flag yourself. It’s not going to stop you from sewing a copy of the flag. It’s simply not going to be as easily acquired or flown in Government buildings, and is that really a bad thing? The government doesn’t want to be associated with something that stood for racism and hate at one point (oh God, the humanity will somebody please think of the children!!!). The way politics are these days it’s not like the Government is very popular either so it’s definitely got to work on its image. Traditions evolve all of the time. This case is no different than any of the ones that have come before it. If we are to look at a brighter future then we must be willing to make sacrifices even if those include symbols that we hold near and dear to our hearts.
As always like and share if you enjoyed the article and let me know if you have any suggestions for future topics. I hope you guys enjoyed reading on the history of this treasured American artifact as much as I liked researching it.